Birth injuries are more common than many believe. In the United States, a baby is born with a birth defect every four and a half minutes, and some of these defects are birth injuries caused by medical mistakes. When this happens, a birth injury lawsuit can help families pay for expensive care, hold negligent facilities accountable, and protect their child’s future.
What Are Birth Injuries?
During the birthing process, a baby may suffer from a physical injury, which is sometimes called a birth trauma or a birth injury. Birth injuries can happen before, during, or directly after labor and delivery. Additionally, these injuries can range in severity from mild to severe.
Common types of birth injuries include:
- Cerebral palsy
- Erb’s palsy
- Brain swelling
- Skull fractures
- Nerve damage
- Brain damage
What Are the Potential Causes of Birth Injuries?
|Natural Causes of Birth Injuries||Malpractice Causes of Birth Injuries|
|High birth weight of a baby||Use of devices such as vacuums or forceps during delivery|
|Premature deliveries||Failure to properly respond to conditions during labor or delivery|
|Size and shape of the mother’s pelvis||Failure to provide proper prenatal care (including prescription drugs)|
|Difficult labor or delivery|
|Abnormal delivery position, such as buttocks first|
It is not always easy to determine what causes a birth injury. In some cases, injuries may be the result of unavoidable complications that arise during labor or delivery — but in other cases, birth injuries are entirely preventable.
Preventable birth injuries may be the result of medical malpractice, and in these cases, families can pursue financial compensation to help them cover the costs of care for their child.
Caring for a Child With a Birth Injury
Parents and primary caregivers of children with special needs face unique challenges. In addition to the enormous responsibility of caring for a child, the emotional impact that caregivers face can be huge.
Additionally, when taking into account the treatments, therapies, and adaptive equipment that children with disabilities may need, most families affected by birth injuries find that they have much higher health care and out-of-pocket expenses.
Birth Injury Lawsuits
It’s common for parents and caregivers of children injured at birth to view finances as one of their largest sources of stress. In the unfortunate event of a medical mistake during pregnancy or delivery that causes a birth injury, families may wish to file a birth injury lawsuit.
The money received through a birth injury lawsuit settlement or verdict can help with the costs of lifelong care and make up for lost income.
Birth Injury Lawsuit Settlements
When you file a birth injury lawsuit, your attorney may help create a lifelong care plan that calculates an appropriate settlement amount. This plan may include ongoing medical treatment, special equipment and assistive devices, the caregiver’s lost wages, and other expenses. Birth injury lawsuit settlements may also factor in pain and suffering.
A settlement may be offered early on by a hospital representative, however, this amount may not be enough to cover current and future costs. In these cases, a trial may be pursued. Your lawyer can help you determine whether accepting a settlement offer seems in your best interest or if you should consider taking the case to court in a trial.
Noteworthy verdicts and settlements for birth injuries include:
- $30.5 million jury award in Massachusetts: An undisclosed settlement deal was reached for catastrophic brain damage due to oxygen deprivation (reported by Mealey’s®).
- $10 million settlement in Tennessee: The amount was agreed upon after a judge awarded $15.1 million for a 15-year old boy who developed cerebral palsy due to severe oxygen deprivation at birth in a military base hospital (reported by Mealey’s).
- $1.25 million settlement in Florida: The settlement was reached due to delivery delays that caused a boy’s brain damage (reported by Mealey’s).
Birth Injury Lawyers
In order to receive compensation for a birth injury, there must be proof that medical providers and/or drug companies did not provide adequate care. This is usually accomplished by a birth injury attorney with experience in this type of case.
To help you win your case, your birth injury lawyer may consult with a medical expert who is qualified in the same practice area as the wrongdoer. The expert’s testimony must show that failure to meet the standard of care resulted in the birth injury.
While your attorney works to establish proof of wrongdoing, they will also fight aggressively to recover the largest amount of money possible to pay for care.
Choosing a Birth Injury Attorney
Some questions you may consider when looking for a lawyer include:
- How long has the lawyer been in practice?
- Approximately what percent of their practice involves birth injury claims?
- What settlement goal does the attorney plan to set for the claim?
Statutes of Limitations on Birth Injury Claims
A law called a “statute of limitations” places a limit on the amount of time people can file a legal case. In birth injury claims, this usually means that the initial complaint must be filed in the civil court system before a certain timeframe.
While the deadline varies by state, the “clock” usually starts running on the date when the malpractice occurred. For this reason, it is crucial to be aware of the statute of limitations so you don’t lose your ability to sue and seek compensation. An experienced birth injury attorney can help you file your claim within the proper time frame.
- Anderson, D., Dumont, S., Jacobs, P., & Azzaria, L. (2007). The personal costs of caring for a child with a disability: a review of the literature. Public health reports (Washington, D.C. : 1974), 122(1), 3–16. Retrieved September 8, 2020 from https://doi.org/10.1177/003335490712200102
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- Lexis Legal News. Mealey’s (2020). Tennessee Judge Approves $10 Million Settlement For Boy’s Brain Damage At Birth. Retrieved September 8, 2020 from https://www.lexislegalnews.com/articles/53613/tennessee-judge-approves-10-million-settlement-for-boy-s-brain-damage-at-birth
- Lexis Legal News. Mealey’s (2019). Undisclosed Deal Reached Before Massachusetts Jury Awards Family $30.5 Million. Retrieved September 8, 2020 from https://www.lexislegalnews.com/articles/38671/undisclosed-deal-reached-before-massachusetts-jury-awards-family-30-5-million
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